Start with Compassion

by Greg Laurie on Oct 7, 2022
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.
—1 Corinthians 9:19

Today, many people no longer know the Bible. There was a time, maybe 30 years ago, when you could ask someone if they were a Christian and they would say yes. Today, many people either will say no or will not know what a Christian is.

There was a time when you could reference stories from the Bible, like the stories of Adam and Eve or Noah and the ark, and people would understand what you were referring to. Now, many people are no longer familiar with such stories.

That’s why when we’re sharing our faith, it’s important to adapt to the people we’re speaking with and make things understandable to them. Don’t assume that people know what you’re talking about.

On the Day of Pentecost, Peter knew his audience. Many of the people in the crowd that he addressed had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, and there were some in the crowd who literally played a role in actually crucifying Jesus. Peter quoted many verses from the Scriptures because his audience was largely Jewish and knew the Scriptures.

In contrast, the people today are more like those whom Paul spoke to on Mars Hill in Athens. Paul said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to the unknown god. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:22–23 NKJV).

Paul’s message was quite different in structure from Peter’s message. Peter was speaking to a biblically literate audience, while Paul was speaking to a biblically illiterate audience.

That’s why it’s a good idea to get to know the people you’re speaking with. It’s a dialogue, not a monologue. Start with compassion because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

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